ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF PIGMENTS FROM ALGAE FOR USE AS NATURAL COLORANTS.

Period of Performance: 01/01/1988 - 12/31/1988

$47K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Martek Bioscience Corporation
6480 DOBBIN RD
Columbia, MD 21045
Principal Investigator

Abstract

MOST SYNTHETIC COLORS ARE COAL TAR DERIVATIVES AND HAVE BEEN TARGETTED AS POTENTIAL CAUSATIVE AGENTS OF HYPERACTIVITY AND LEARNING DISABILITIES IN CHILDREN, CANCER,EMBRYOTOXICITY AND ALLERGENICITY. ALTERNATIVELY, NATURAL COLORS (E.G., CAROTENOIDS) DO NOT EXHIBIT THESE NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTES, AND MAY HAVE A POSITIVE HEALTH BENEFIT, PRESUMABLY DUE TO THEIR ROLE AS LIPID ANTIOXIDANTS, FREE RADICAL TRAPS AND QUENCHERS OF SINGLET OXYGEN. THERE IS, THEREFORE, A MAJOR CONSUMER-DRIVEN DEMAND FOR NATURAL COLORSTO MINIMIZE EXPOSURE TO POTENTIAL TOXINS. IN THE AREA OF NATURAL COLORS PRODUCTION, MICROALGAE ARE A GREATLY UNDERUTILIZED RESOURCE. ALGAE PRODUCE PIGMENTS OF POTENTIAL VALUE AS COLORANTS OF FOOD, COSMETICS AND PHARMACEUTICALS. INITIALLY, CAROTENOID PRODUCING STRAINS WILL BE STUDIED TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF PRODUCING NATURAL COLORS FROM ALGAE USING THE FOLLOWING APPROACH: ESTABLISH, IN PURE CULTURE, SEVERAL ALGAL SPECIES THAT PRODUCE HIGH LEVELS OF CAROTENOIDS IN WHICH A SINGLE COMPONENT FORMS THE BULK OF THE CELLULAR CAROTENOIDS; OPTIMIZE GROWTH CONDITIONS AND DETERMINE OVERALL CAROTENOID PRODUCTIVITIES; EXTRACT THE CAROTENOIDS IN PREPARATIVE QUANTITIES FOR TESTING; OPTIMIZE THE EXTRACTION PROCEDURE TOGIVE THE HIGHEST RECOVERY COMMENSURATE WITH SPEED AND LOW COST; QUANTITATE THE COST FACTORS INVOLVED IN THIS NOVEL SUPPLY SOURCE; BEGIN ISOLATION OF HERBICIDE (NORFLUORAZONE) RESISTANT ALGAE THAT MAY CONTAIN ELEVATED LEVELS OF CAROTENOIDS.